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Staff from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester answered the call to help provide a key ingredient for hand sanitiser after supplies dried up for local frontline health workers.

The University has recently donated all its remaining stocks (15.6 litres) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) to Cheshire based Weetwood Ales & Distillery. It responded to an appeal from the award winning Kelsall based business, who, in turn, had been asked by many local health workers if they could make hand sanitiser for them and the wider community.

Director of Weetwood Ales, Phil McLaughlin said: “We were more than happy to help our local community in providing such a vital resource. Ethanol (alcohol) is a key ingredient in the World Health Organisation’s recommended formula for hand sanitiser and is a substance which we are obviously used to working with. While ethanol is the main component, we also needed hydrogen peroxide, which we were struggling to source. That’s when we approached the University of Chester on the off chance that they had any stock in their laboratories. We were thrilled at how quickly they responded and of course the donation they were able to make.”

A dedicated University technical team worked remotely via skype, email and phone to advise and ensure the right formula was produced. Dr James Nicholson and Gareth Davies, Laboratory Managers from the University’s Thornton Science Park campus ensured all safety measures were adhered to, and that the hydrogen peroxide was collected safely with the necessary safety documentation, whilst also adhering to social distancing.

Professor Garfield Southall, Professor Emeritus in Computer Science, said: “We were delighted to help out Weetwood Ales & Distillery, This is a fantastic example of how local people are coming together to use their skills to help others at this difficult time. Our dedicated teams have worked quickly and selflessly to ensure this project was delivered safely and promptly.”

Thanks to the University handing over its entire supply of the chemical, Weetwood Ales & Distillery is now successfully producing the hand sanitiser which is being distributed locally free of charge.

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